Under Marchionnes model-sharing policy, Chrysler 300 becomes the Lancia Thema for continental Europe

Under Marchionne's model-sharing policy, Chrysler 300 becomes the Lancia Thema for continental Europe

Following the launch of the Dodge Dart sedan at the Detroit show this month, replacing the Caliber hatchback, Chrysler is considering building a small hatchback which would be exported from the US as a Lancia, CEO Sergio Marchionne told a Detroit newspaper.

He referred to the car as the Chrysler 100 in a wide-ranging interview with the Detroit Free Press.

"2012 is the most difficult year," he told the paper. "We will have the least product introductions."

"The execution of the launch of the Dart is indicative of how we will do" new midsize sedans and Jeep SUVs coming in 2013, Marchionne said.

"The Dart will also become the donor platform for the car we will build in China."

The new vehicles due in 2013 include replacements for the Chrysler 200 (nee Sebring) and its Dodge Avenger twin plus new versions of the (recently refreshed) Jeep Compass and Liberty, the paper reported. They'll also be based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta platform that underpins the Dart, and built in Toledo, Ohio.

Fiat has recently launched the 300 and Town and Country minivan under the Lancia brand in Europe, retaining the Chrysler tag for the UK and Ireland where it is better known.

Marchionne reportedly is confident the Fiat/Alfa architecture can also be used successfully under the planned new small Jeep models.

"It's gonna be a trail-rated, full-blooded Jeep that has its origins in the architecture of a sports car," he told the Detroit Free Press.

He is also confident Alfa Romeo's return to the US will happen despite a recent delay to 2013.

"We had to make sure they were lightweight, fast cars with Alfa powertrains," he said, citing an upcoming 1.8-litre engine that produces 300hp, according to the paper.

"There will be plants making Alfas in the United States and Europe," he said. "I need to export to Europe from the US. The volumes I get here are how I reintroduce Alfa to Europe."